Tyler Perry smiling and looking off camera.

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Tyler Perry’s line about police officers in Oscar speech draws criticism

Perry's 'refuse hate' line didn't sit well.


Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Posted on Apr 26, 2021   Updated on Apr 26, 2021, 12:43 pm CDT

Tyler Perry was honored with a humanitarian award at last night’s Oscars, but one line from his acceptance speech didn’t sit will with some viewers.

Perry, who was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his commitment to social justice causes and charity, and creating a safe production bubble during COVID, said in his speech that his mother taught him to “refuse hate,” then added: “I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are Black or white or LBGTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian.”

He also urged people to “stand in the middle, because that’s where healing happens.”

After a week where Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd and 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was fatally shot in Columbus, Ohio, Perry’s pleas for centrism sounded a bit disingenuous, especially since he threw in “police officer” along with groups that are often targeted and brutalized by cops.

“Police officers are not an oppressed group,” wrote Kathleen Newman-Bremang.

People also took issue with Perry’s humanitarian award in light of his history of being anti-union. Last year he addressed a 2008 incident in which he allegedly fired four union writers, claiming he fired them because “they weren’t giving me what I wanted.”

The COVID bubble he was honored for, dubbed Camp Quarantine, allowed Perry to continue shooting four TV shows in Atlanta during the pandemic, reportedly with very few positive cases, though there were questions about the working conditions. He also recently set up a vaccination site for crew and staff.

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*First Published: Apr 26, 2021, 12:27 pm CDT